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Parliamentary questions
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31 July 2020
E-002838/2020(ASW)
Answer given by Mr Breton
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-002838/2020

The Commission recently published the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Strategy(1), which reconfirmed the key role of the EU SME Definition to target the right population, i.e. to deliver support and benefits to the enterprises most in need. The Commission regularly monitors whether it is fit for that purpose.

According to a recent public consultation(2), studies and surveys the definition works well and is easy to use for the overwhelming majority of EU SMEs that are small and autonomous. The Commission will further assess and report on specific issues raised, as regards, for example, complex ownership structures or possible ‘lock-in’ effects.

The current COVID-19 crisis has a major impact on our economy(3). The Commission has therefore put forward measures to support the economy, including full flexibility of the fiscal and state aid frameworks ensuring that sufficient liquidity is available to businesses of all sizes.

In addition, the Commission presented in May a major Recovery Plan for Europe to repair and prepare for the next generation(4). It includes a new instrument to boost the EU budget with new financing raised on the markets and a reinforced EU budget for powering recovery and resilience from 2021 to 2027. It provides for an extensive support for SMEs and other companies that might not qualify under the SME definition.

The new Solvency Support Instrument will provide urgent support to sound companies put at risk by the crisis and help avoid economic damage and company bankruptcies.

The new REACT-EU initiative will provide support to key crisis repair actions, including short time work schemes and working capital for SMEs.

These measures will be complemented by longer‐term support under programmes such as InvestEU, cohesion policy and the single market programme.

(1)https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/sme-strategy-launched-european-commission
(2) https://ec.europa.eu/info/consultations/public-consultation-review-sme-definition_en
(3) https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/economy-finance/assessment_of_economic_and_investment_needs.pdf
(4) https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/health/coronavirus-response/recovery-plan-europe_
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